‘Be our 16th man’: Sudbury chief’s survival call on eve of crunch clash

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A RALLYING call has been issued to the people of Sudbury to turn out in force and play their part in the rugby club’s battle for survival.

The town side face their biggest 80 minutes at Whittome Field on Saturday when relegation-threatened Beccles arrive in a day set to end in ecstasy for one and the start of the road to no return for the other.

But chairman Mike Beckett believes a vociferous home crowd can help ensure Sudbury are not staring down the barrel of relegation going into the last game at fifth-placed Ipswich next week, with a win almost certainly ensuring their survival.

He said: “I appeal to local Sudbury residents to come out and give us all the support they can, they will be the 16th man.

“It makes a big difference if you have good support and spirit behind you.”

Beckett, who declared the match as the biggest since he joined the club as a volunteer back in 2005, added despite their unexpected troubled season - Sudbury had targeted promotion after missing out on the last day of last season - the Whittome Field diehards had been fantastic.

He said: “Our support has been very loyal, the people who support us are there not because of our position, but because they love Sudbury Rugby Club.”

The game will hold further significance as player-coach Mark Bolton’s last home game for Suds, with the former professional league and union player retiring from the dual role at the end of the campaign.

President Gregory Underwood, who has dedicated 40 years to volunteering at Sudbury, was recognised with a national award earlier this year and will also be stepping down. A fully-booked pre-match lunch will be held in his honour ahead of the crunch clash.

Sudbury have now lost five league games on the bounce, since beating bottom side Harlow 30-14 at home on January 29. They lost 22-19 to Beccles on December 11.